Secret Weddings, Self-Googling, and the Unfriend

by A Bowl of Hummus

I’ve been in a wonderful relationship for about five years with a man in the Air Force, and we’re currently living together. We had wanted to wait until we were more established (we’re 24, and I’m in grad school) to get married, but he’s now going to be stationed in Hawaii for several years, and it appears that getting married now makes the most sense. We’re leaving for Hawaii in a month, so there’s no time to have a decent wedding. Our current thinking is that we’ll have a quick courthouse wedding with just the two of us now so that we can be married before moving, then when we’re settled we’ll do the whole wedding-with-friends-and-family thing.

I’m pretty sure that if I tell my friends we’re getting married now, they’ll not see the importance of my other wedding in a year or two. My friends are the type who don’t spend a lot of money on travel (unless it’s to Disney World with their families), and I’m really concerned they’ll view the second wedding (the one that really matters to me and my guy) as unnecessary, and will therefore make no effort to travel to it, wherever it may be. Because of this, my boyfriend and I are seriously considering keeping the courthouse wedding a secret from everyone but our parents. It’s only paperwork to us at this point, and the second wedding is the one where our hearts will really be in it.

Does keeping this a secret from my friends make me a bad person? Does it mean I need new friends?

I don’t think it makes you a bad person, but it might mean you need new friends. Luckily, you’re about to move away from all your current ones! But let’s see what we can do here … From your letter, I’m not sure why you think your friends will react that way. If it’s just that they don’t travel much and you’re assuming they’ll look for an excuse to not come, I think you may be underestimating them. Are you the first in your circle to get married? This would not surprise me, given your age, but it means that you haven’t had various wedding situations come up, to see how people react in real life. In general, many people who don’t regularly take exciting trips will travel for weddings, because they want to celebrate with their loved ones. Your note about Disney World makes me think that money wouldn’t be the only issue keeping people from your wedding (or related celebration), but that’s a place to give people some slack. If your event is far away from where your friends live, and they don’t have hundreds of extra dollars, they might not be able to come, no matter how much they love you.

I really do think that good friends will want to come to your wedding, though, regardless of legal status, especially if they understand the practical reasons for being legally married before you move. (I’m guessing there’s stuff about living on-base together, and likely other benefits I’m not familiar with.) But I don’t think you need to tell anyone the date of your legal marriage if you don’t want to. If you’re planning on having a ceremony at the big event, it will feel as much like a wedding as anything. (But note, if that ceremony would be a religious ceremony, you might want to check with the potential officiant to make sure having a courthouse wedding beforehand is okay. Some religious folks might have an issue.) I myself have (at least?) two friends who had courthouse weddings before their big event weddings, for various reasons. I think most people knew in one case, but not in the other, although I don’t actually remember, because ultimately it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re just having one party that you’re inviting friends and family to, the legality is a minor part of it.

I’m part of a relatively tight group of female friends, and two of the girls have a friend from college who’s also in the group. She’s horrible. (I know, that makes me sound bad, too, but she’s legitimately horrible.) She’s super insecure, to the extent that she wouldn’t leave her seat at the middle of a large-ish table at her best friend’s surprise birthday dinner to make room for said best friend, because then she “wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone.” She doesn’t understand boundaries or the word “no,” and still freaks out when anyone talks to the guy she hooked up with two years ago (and somehow thought she was dating even though he only called her at 3 a.m.?). THAT is a story for another time, but for real, lady is crazy.

I reached my breaking point with her when she accused me in a bar a couple of months ago of spreading rumors about her. (Yes, we are apparently still in middle school, and, no, I was not.) This all became a shitstorm today when I sent out an email inviting everyone (but her, I KNOW) to come see a show with me and my ex-roommate. My argument is that being with her frustrates me and stresses me out, because everyone is constantly walking on eggshells around her. That’s no fun, and I want to enjoy some Kaiser Chiefs. I’m also not the only one; most of us are tolerating her only for the two girls who knew her in college. I don’t know how to defriend her without causing drama. What to do?

You have no obligation to be friends with people you don’t want to be friends with. I almost don’t care why you don’t want to be her friend — if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. But we do live in the real world, and friend dynamics do exist in groups, not just one-on-one.

What was the shitstorm? Her closer friends defending her to you? Telling her she wasn’t invited, so she would confront you about it? Third-party people yelling at you? Let’s assume some combination of the above. If you’re looking to avoid confrontation (is that what drama is?), the easiest thing is to keep hanging out with her, and just let her BS roll off you. But it doesn’t sound like that’s what you want, and it doesn’t sound like you want to talk to her directly, so you’re going to need to be explicit about it with at least the friends of yours who are better friends of hers. (I wish we had some code names here…)

If the two who are better friends with her are still really close to her, you can’t cut her out without hurting them, or at least having a frank discussion about why you don’t want to hang out with her anymore. (Although her accusation of you spreading rumors seems like a pretty solid reason not to want to hang out with her any more.) Try talking to the ones who are closest to her about your desire to see less of her, and maybe try smaller-group activities sometimes. If you aren’t always doing stuff with the whole group, it’s a little easier to edge her out of some events, and maybe she’s less problematic in smaller doses. In the current example, you could have made plans to go to the concert with just your ex-roommate. Then, maybe it comes up in conversation with other people, and they end up going, too. But it’s not a blanket invitation that explicitly excludes one member of the group.

Good luck, at any rate.

Lady! How often do you Google yourself? Google Image-search yourself? I probably do it two or three times a week, is that crazy, am I normal? Are you normal, are you crazy? I mean, I’m probably not going to stop either way, but I want to know. Shit, I’m probably going to have to Google myself right now. And then there’s that special way to search yourself on Tumblr, and Twitter. Where does it stop, Lady?

I’m really not in the business of telling people whether they’re. Because seriously, that is a professional job. Is your self-Googling habit driving you nuts? If so, stop! Or at least cut back. Is it like the thing where you get really close to the mirror and pay super-close attention to any flaw you find? If so, that is probably not a good thing for your mind-space. If you’re just curious how you come across on the internet, that might not be so bad. Personally, I Google myself occasionally, like a few times a year, probably? (I mean, not counting right now, of course…) But my public internet presence is pretty light, and I like to keep it that way.

PS: What is the way to search yourself on Tumblr? Asking for a friend… (Ed. — “Search term”

My roommate is a lovely, wonderful friend who recently started dating an equally lovely, wonderful guy. I’m really happy for them and want to show nothing but support for their relationship, but there is one thing that’s driving me crazy: they can’t stop touching each other!

It’s like the world will explode if they ever break skin-to-skin contact. It doesn’t matter if we’re out to dinner with a big group or they’re sitting around our apartment — they’re constantly draped over each other, complete with hair-petting and hand-stroking. I get that some couples like to be a little more PDA-ish than others, but it’s really distracting to have a conversation with them when her head is his lap or she’s tracing her fingers along his arm. How can I let my friend know that the cuddling is nauseating while still making it clear that I’m genuinely happy for her relationship? As a side note — and I’m not sure if this matters — I am sans significant other at the moment. But I don’t want the conversation to go in a “You don’t have a boyfriend so you wouldn’t understand,” or a “You’re just jealous” kind of way. I do want to continue hanging out with the two of them and don’t expect them to go hide in her room when he’s at our place or anything like that. I’d just like them to ease up a little on the touchy-feely when I’m around.

Ugh. Lady, I feel you. But not literally, because I am not a touchy-feely person myself, as it turns out. So yeah, I fall pretty heavily on the side that two people canoodling in public or ESPECIALLY in a three-person hanging out situation is just rude. You should definitely talk to your roommate, and talk to her alone — it’s absolutely a reasonable request to ask that they hold back just a little. I’d recommend against using the word “nauseated” in this conversation, though. “Uncomfortable” should work well, and do lead with how much you like both of them, and how much you like them together. It wouldn’t hurt if you can point to your own past behavior with significant others — if you’ve hung out with a lovahhh and not been all over them all the time. If she does go to “You wouldn’t understand” or “You’re just jealous,” well, then her new-love hormones are just blinding her, and I’m sorry but you’ll just have to wait it out. They’ll get over it eventually.

Previously: Unmet Demands and the Eternal “Are You Sure You’re Sure You’re Sure?”

A Bowl of Hummus is one of several rotating bowls of hummus who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Bowl of Hummus? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by margouillat photo, via Shutterstock